Saturday, December 16, 2006

The View From The Cheap Seats BY Jerry Haferkamp

The View From The Cheap Seats
By Jerry Haferkamp

Here we go again. I’m talking about the bell ringing for the Salvation Army at area businesses. Along with other volunteers, the Realtors in the St. Charles County Association of Realtors will man (or woman, if you’re into political correctness) the red kettles for this worthwhile cause.

The Salvation Army provides food and shelter for many that need it, but they have needs, too. They need to build to provide shelter for homeless men in St. Charles. They need funds to provide meals for those who come to their shelter. Their present facility also provides volunteer medical care on a limited basis.

We could discuss for months the cause of homelessness or need. Whether from lack of education, illness, alcoholism, or just a run of bad luck, people need our help. We care about stray animals. Can we do no less for our fellow human beings?

While attending to the kettles, many of us have inspiring stories of donations. There are the kids who delight in dropping in loose change. A popular developer who dropped bills into my kettle even though I know he writes a generous check every year. I most remember a woman who came to the grocery store where I rang. She pulled up in an old car with bad tires, a missing wheel cover and side trim hanging loose. As she went into the store, she slipped a twenty-dollar bill into the kettle with the words, “Not long ago I needed help and the Salvation Army helped me. Now I can give something back.”

This is what keeps us volunteering to assist the “Army” in its fund drive. Your gas bills are high, but consider for a moment those with no heat. Your HMO doesn’t give you a choice of doctors, but at least you have a doctor. Your coat may be out of style, but you have one.

Last, but not least, smile at the bell ringer and say “Hi” or “Merry Christmas” even if you don’t deposit anything in the kettle. We know we don’t have the only kettle in town and you may have given elsewhere, but we do appreciate the greetings. They make the cold more bearable.

And to the Salvation Army for giving us the opportunity to help, we thank you!

Merry Christmas!

I hope that’s not just the view from the cheap seats.